World Celebrates International Day for People of African Descent

Today is the International Day for People of African Descent. It is a day set aside to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

The International Day for People of African Descent will be celebrated for the first time on 31 August 2021.The theme for the year is “Honouring the contributions of the African diaspora”

The African diaspora was the dispersal of African peoples to Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The word diaspora has also been used to refer to voluntary migrations from Africa and for population movements within Africa.

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The role played by diaspora in the development, poverty reduction, reconstruction and growth of countries of origin has enabled tremendous change in local communities.

This year, the United Nations strongly condemns the continuing violent practices and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent and condemns structural racism in criminal justice systems around the world.

UN recognises the Transatlantic Slave Trade as one of the darkest chapters in human history. It also upholds human dignity and equality for victims of slavery, slave trade and colonialism, especially for people of African descent in the African diaspora.

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The organisation believes all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights and thus have the abilty to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies.

It therefore calls for the rejection of any doctrine of racial superiority together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.

While some progress has been made at the legislative, policy and institutional levels, people of African descent continue to suffer intersectional and compounded forms of racial discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion.

The year 2020 marked a turning point in the way these issues are being addressed at international and national levels. The murder of George Floyd , a 46-year-old black man murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States galvanized people to protest racism as well as racial discrimination and prompted important global discussions on racial justice.

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On 19 June 2020, the Human Rights Council adopted the resolution on the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers.

Pursuant to this resolution, the High Commissioner for Human Rights presented to the Human Rights Council at its 47th session her agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality.

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